When a songwriter relocates to a metropolitan music hub, they often do so with the hope that that their new surroundings will inspire a higher level of artistry, that the scene will spark something not yet uncovered. But the reality is that, with some rare exceptions, the passion, perspective, and potential that separate the best from the rest all arrived long before relocation.
So sure, keyboardist-singer Sami Stevens resides in Brooklyn, but her adolescent exposure to bucolic depression in rural Maine and subsequent attempt to understand that morbid underbelly within an otherwise majestic landscape arguably outweighs anything else in terms of personal outlook. Those nuanced viewpoints complement a love of complex jazz, soul, and folk characters like Carole King, Sarah Vaughan, Minnie Riperton, Donny Hathaway, Joni Mitchell for a bittersweet blend of ’60s/’70s sounds. And on top of those foundations, Stevens has an incredible set of pipes, which’ve made her stand out even in BK’s bustling performance culture.
And yet outside of some turn-of-the-’20s collaborations with saxophonist Kazemde George, Sami hasn’t really shared any solo material offstage…until now. Sami Stevens’ solo studio career dawns next Friday with her debut full-length Morning an eleven-piece portrait of life as Stevens sees it. Conceptually informed by a degree in Psychology and sonically enhanced by its counterpart in Jazz Performance, the once-sparse arrangements on Morning crest over the horizon anew with vibrant orchestral flourishes that match Stevens’ idiosyncratic reflections. On the LP’s latest offering “Tonight”, Sami seats you right in the swing set and nudges you through a three-and-a-half minute cycle of delicate instrumentation, perfectly-subtle percussion, progressive chord structures and Stevens’ one-of-a-kind featherweight falsetto.
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